Take a look at our interview with director Jeremy Teicher. His film Olympic Dreams world premiered at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival in Narrative Spotlight. Catch it playing in theaters and on VOD on February 14.
In your own words, what does this film mean to you?
Jeremy Teicher: To me, Olympic Dreams is about learning to chase what you want in life and embracing the unknown. Olympic Dreams also represents a personal cinematic achievement: I was a one-person-crew responsible for directing, shooting, and recording sound all at once (often in sub-zero conditions at real Olympic venues and the actual Athlete Village). Nick Kroll and Alexi Pappas improvised the dialogue, and I feel that the three of us truly created magic together.
What motivated you to tell this story?
JT: Alexi Pappas, the star, co-writer, and co-creator of Olympic Dreams, is an Olympic athlete herself – she competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 10,000 meters. Pappas's personal experience as an Olympian was the main inspiration for our story. We wanted to show what it feels like to be in the highly coveted Athlete Village at the most important moment in your life... all the while trying not to ask yourself, "what happens next?"
What do you want the audience to take away?
JT: Olympic Dreams opens a window into a highly exclusive world that many people hear about but very few ever get to see. I hope that audiences take away a deeper understanding of what the Olympic experience feels like from the inside, and also perhaps a personal reflection on what it means to chase a dream.
What were you doing when you found out you were coming to SXSW?
JT: Alexi and I were cooking her post-long-run meal when we got the phone call. Needless to say, there was lots of yelling and jumping around the kitchen.
What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?
JT: SXSW embraces what makes Olympic Dreams unique: it was just Alexi, Nick, and me out there making a film that blends fiction with reality to tell a story in the Olympic Athlete Village, a location that's never been captured before in a narrative film. SXSW champions bold, off-the-beaten path cinema and we are proud to be part of this tradition.
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World Premiere of Olympic Dreams - Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW